Peyton Manning has yet to take a snap for the Indianapolis Colts in 2011, but that does not mean that he won't have an impact on the direction of the team. There has been some chatter that the star quarterback might not allow the team to take Andrew Luck if/when it makes the top pick in April's NFL draft.
How’s Manning, the longtime face of the Colts, going to handle that situation? The Colts rewarded Manning with a handsome contract extension in the spring — a show of good faith, perhaps — so do they really “owe” him much more? Are they obligated to give him another season under center because of the 12 he’s already given them?
It has become clear this season that Manning is the only player that the Colts have. He is the only reason that team got that nice, luxurious new stadium built, why the city is hosting a Super Bowl and, most importantly, why there is still a franchise in Indianapolis.
You can understand why there would be a lot of loyalty for Manning from the fans and front office of the Colts, but in sports, loyalty to one player will get you fired and set the franchise back for years.
Manning has not come out publicly and said anything about how the Colts should conduct their draft next spring, and that is exactly the way that it should be.
The Colts are run by Jim Irsay and Bill Polian. They have to do what is in the best interest of this franchise long-term. Manning, as great as he has been, is not a long-term solution for them.
Manning will be 36 years old by the time next season starts. He is coming off two neck surgeries in a two-year period. He hasn't taken a snap since last January. H
is time in the NFL is coming to an end sooner rather than later.
There is no way that Manning should be able to dictate what the team does with its draft pick. If Andrew Luck is the best player available to them, they need to take him and not worry about any consequences.
Manning is an employee of the Indianapolis Colts. He has to play by their rules, and if he were to have some problem with a player they drafted, that is his deal and he needs to get over it.
The Colts had to know that the end of the Manning era would be coming soon because the NFL is not an old man's game.
Polian and Irsay did a terrible job of preparing for it by building everything around one player, but they can start to right their wrongs by building a team for the future and not for Manning. He should have no input into the pick whatsoever because the team is going to be around a lot longer than he is.